Garden, Outdoor and Patio Furniture, they’re all the same thing. At Lazy Susan we use all 3 terms but we want this article to be a guide to Patio Furniture. In other words, furniture that goes on a patio or decked area.
Garden Furniture seems to be the most commonly used term. Not that we’ve done any official research, but from a Google point of view, it is definitely the most commonly searched term.
We like the term patio furniture though. Outdoor and garden feel a little more general, suggesting the furniture can be placed anywhere, which is essentially true. Decks, lawns, balconies, hotel courtyards, pubs, garden lawns, tennis clubs, weddings, front doors/front porches, etc.
From the Customer Photos we’ve received for our Do Some Good charity campaign, we’ve seen Lazy Susan patio furniture used in a wide range of wonderful locations - as you can see from the photo below of our Amelia Patio Table.
However, there’s just something about the patio and furniture that goes together so well. That little outdoor area just outside your back door. A nice tiled, paved or decked surface. Pair it with Patio Furniture, Parasol, BBQ, maybe a few planters, some garden accessories, a fire pit or patio heater. …Voilà, you have the perfect outdoor living room.
The patio furniture industry is changing
We like to do this type of article at different times of year too. Patio furniture is traditionally seasonal, when the sun shines, sales boom. We’ve all done it. You get a spell of good weather and the impulse is to purchase a new BBQ or Patio Table & Chairs.
However, at Lazy Susan we are seeing a big shift. The homeowner is becoming savvier. Demanding more from their garden.
The pandemic of course played a big part, and as much as I personally hate the term, the ‘staycation’ is here to stay. We want to spend more quality time at home and in our gardens. Patio Furniture is no longer just an impulse buy.
The patio itself is being looked at like an extension of the home, or like a ‘room’ in itself. And by that, we are seeing more considered purchases, more research before we buy, greater emphasis on designing the space to function/flow, more styling, more accessorising, more attention to the details.
A sofa or dining table for the inside of our home is much less likely to be purchased on a whim. We will shop around, measure up, use the piece to pull a cohesive scheme together. The same is now true with our patios and gardens. We want them to function on multiple levels, from outdoor cooking and dining to growing veg and relaxing.
That requires multiple pieces of furniture and accessorisation being ‘pulled together’ just like any room inside the home, and as illustrated in the customer photo below of our popular June Patio Set.
Yes, summer is over. But trust Lazy Susan…
If you want to make an informed purchase decision, get pieces that function in terms of how you use your patio, and most importantly, furniture that you’ll enjoy for the next 10 years, then now is the perfect time to start the process.
It’ll give you time to do your research, establish what works best for you and your patio, measure up, make the purchase, and most importantly, get it delivered and in place for the first rays of 2022.
At Lazy Susan our popular sets can sell out quick in the summer months too. Purchase now, and you can have that furniture delivered and in place ready to go.
So think of this article as an overview, a guide to patio furniture, a how-to shop for, with advice on how you should/could go about making that informed purchase.
As always we’ll share a few tips, tricks and hacks to getting the right pieces from the Lazy Susan team too. Try and answer those questions we often have and help get you to that position where you are confident you’re making an informed long-term purchase.
How do you currently use your patio?
The starting point with any guide to patio furniture should always be to purchase for need.
Look to get pieces that fit and function with how you like to use your patio space. Think of the patio just like you would any room inside your home too. It should work and flow from inside to out and with/into the rest of the garden.
When you design a living room, for example, it is best done around a focal point. That could be a fireplace, large feature window or even the TV. After all, that is what we primarily use the space for. The same is applicable to our patios.
Think about how you and your family use it…
- Is it for relaxing with a good book and cup of coffee?
- Are you an avid outdoor cook?
- Do you like to get friends over for drinks in the evening around the fire pit?
- Are you more focused on growing your own and the patio is the place to sit back and survey all that green-fingered toil?
- Do you like to pop on factor 20 and catch a few rays when the weather permits?
- Do you like to have a spot for lunch in the garden?
- Do you like to get outside for a spot of crafting?
Other important questions you need to ask yourself include:
- How do you use your outdoor space?
- What’s your budget?
- What type of garden furniture?
- What style of garden furniture?
- What material should you purchase?
- How much care and maintenance will it require?
- Will it fit?
- Will it stand up to the elements?
- Is it easy to store?
- Is it easy to assemble?
- How comfortable is it?
- Do you want pieces you can leave outside all year round?
- Do you want furniture that can be easily picked up and moved around the patio/garden?
It could be that the patio is used in a number of different ways too. In that case, you may need multiple pieces if you have the space or a compromise on one type to perform multiple roles if it’s limited?
We have seen first-hand at Lazy Susan the impact the pandemic has had on how we use our outdoor spaces too. We’ve had record sales. Homeowners are looking to extend their living space. Maximise use. We are all looking to create an outdoor oasis that functions like an indoor room.
However, the key to any room indoors is that function. Purchasing pieces that help fit/fulfil that function, be it dining table in the kitchen or sofa in the living room, they’re designed to be used. You could even have both in your kitchen as I do in my own home.
The same is true in the garden. Of course, as we’ve just mentioned, it depends on space, however, if you’ve got the room then you could purchase multiple pieces to create dining and relaxing 'zones'.
If you've not got the space, then you need to prioritise, as the customer has done above to dramatic effect with our Tulip Bistro Set. Purchase a set/pieces that fit best with how you use your outdoor space or will help you use it as much as possible in the future.
The key to getting it right is to think of that patio in the same way you would think about any room inside your home!
What type of patio furniture do you need?
Good patio furniture is essential in bringing the comfort, function and wow factor of the indoor to the outside.
With a Lazy Susan patio table and our coordinating chairs, a simple paved patio can be transformed into an alfresco dining destination for family and friends.
Opt for an outdoor sofa set with plush outdoor cushions and it becomes a second family living room where game night can be taken outside on a warm evening.
When complemented with the right patio furniture, even a small apartment balcony (such as the one above) paired with a compact 2 seater bistro set, planted containers and a few accessories can draw you outside when the sun shines to take in surroundings with a glass of wine.
Be it lounging, dining, and entertaining, getting the right pieces of patio furniture and working them into the wider garden design scheme is what will make your patio the go-to destination.
We always advise customers to go for hardworking pieces that make the most of their space and budget. And by that, we mean furniture that you’ll get the most use. For example, an outdoor sofa is great for kicking back with a good book but not so conducive to eating and vice versa.
However, a patio table and chairs from Lazy Susan might be the better compromise if space is limited. You can enjoy a meal, but the chairs when paired with our garden cushions are comfy for many hours of sitting.
Purchasing sets that serve multiple purposes can eliminate the need to purchase additional furniture but still help you use the garden as much as possible and for a number of different needs.
At Lazy Susan, our Patio Furniture range includes:
1. Make a list of your patio furniture needs
Note down how you like to use your patio. Make a list of the activities you and your family currently enjoy or would like to do more of in that outdoor space. This will help you establish what type of patio furniture will best fit that need.
The key decision-making criteria for buying new patio furniture is pretty simple when you break it down:
- We want it to look good
- We want it to fit in the space we have available
- We want it to be durable
- We want it to be weather resistant
- We want it to be fit for purpose/use
2. Measure your patio space
Once you have a list of needs for your patio space, the next step in our guide to patio furniture is to carefully measure the patio space.
You want as much detail as you can, so we would suggest you get out the pencil and paper or use one of the many free garden design apps.
The mistake often made is that people measure and fit in a set with dimensions that fit all that space. They don’t take into account the ‘working space’, which is basically the free space you need around around a patio table and chairs that make them comfortable to use.
By putting it down on paper or on-screen, you can play around with the layout, see what fits and ensure the space will function and flow when all is purchased and in place.
If we take our patio tables as an example but this method can be applied to any outdoor furniture:
i. Measure table-to-patio clearance
How much space have you got from where the table will sit to the edges of your patio or decking
ii. Measure the space around the patio
To allow people to sit down and get up easily from their seats, we always advise people to try and leave at least 75cm (we'd even go up to 1m if you can) between the table and the edge of your patio area.
iii. Measure garden table-to-other items clearance
If there are other items on the patio already such as accessories, other pieces of patio furniture, containers, etc that you don’t want to move, then take that measurement from the edge of those items instead of the edge of the patio.
As you can see in the table above, we have various shapes and sizes of patio tables in our collection. Each is sold with our recommended number of chairs. And by recommended we mean the amount you can fit around the table with plenty of room for people to sit comfortably and get up/move around.
Now, of course, this is a guide, you can always squeeze additional people around if the need arises. This is just the best/safe fit. It gives each person sitting at the table ample room. Additional Garden Chairs can be purchased separately if required (with many stackable for easy storage).
One of the popular things we see many of our customers doing is purchasing 4 seater or 6 seater patio tables along with a coordinating garden bench. The bench will often be placed in another part of the garden/patio but they are light enough to pick up/pull up to the table when you have some additional guests. This is shown in the customer photo of our white Jill 4 Seater Patio Set paired with our Jasmin Bench below:
The table above also lists the approximate floor space you need for each of the different sizes of patio table. From this, you can easily calculate how much space you will need to fit each set (table and chairs) on your patio.
Again, the above figures are a guide only. Patio table sizes, patios, garden shapes, etc all vary, so please carefully check the dimensions section for each set in our shop before you purchase and always measure carefully (twice).
The diagram below shows the recommended floor space we suggest for our best selling oval June 6 Seater Patio Table while the dimensions as found in our shop are shown above.
Will you have the space you need for the table, to sit comfortably and enough left for the patio to still function?
This is what we referred to above as the ‘working space’ and you can see what we recommend (the light blue 75cm area) for our June set in the diagram below. It is the space needed for you and your family/guests to comfortably pull chairs out, to sit/get up and freely move around when people are seated.
Now the floor space diagram is again just a guide, you may feel you can work with a little less working space for example. As we say, each patio is different, just take these measurements and apply them to the ‘free’ outdoor space you have available/where want the set to fit when used.
How do you calculate what size patio table should I buy?
When it comes to deciding what size patio table (or sofa set, etc) you should buy, start by measuring the length and width of the outdoor space you have free for dining, that ‘zone’ on your patio/decking that you want the patio table & chairs to go.
If you subtract 150 cm from both the length and width to allow for the ‘working space’ and 'chair/sit down space', that is the size of the patio table we would recommend you purchase.
Now, of course, every space is different. There could be planters, a BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven, walls, other pieces of outdoor furniture such as a sofa, different shapes of the patio, etc. All factors that, need to be taken into account.
However, this measurement assumes free space where the table and chairs can be placed and used. By following this guide you will get a set that best ‘fits’ that free space in terms of scale (not too big or small) and function (comfortable to sit with space to get up and walk around when in use).
If we take our June table as an example again, on its own it is 150 cm long by 95 cm wide (as shown below).
Add onto that 75 cm for the chairs and 75 cm of ‘Working Space’ and you need free space on a patio of 300 cm by 245 cm for that set to work.
You’ll see in the Space Requirements table above the column Recommended Floor Space, and this dimension is listed for each Patio Table in the Lazy Susan collection.
And of course, as we’ve already said this is a guide, but it will help you to establish if once the set is in place, the patio will still function and flow.
Patio tables need to allow for the number of people you want to seat to sit comfortably around them and then still leave enough space for people to walk about the patio, etc.
What material do you want your patio furniture to be made from?
The next question to answer in our guide to patio furniture, is what material?
We looked at this in detail in our choosing a patio furniture material for the UK a few months or so back. Choosing the right patio furniture material is just a matter of a little research. Taking a little time before you buy to see how those different materials compare in terms of the criteria above, seeing samples, reading customer reviews, etc.
The different materials available each have their own pros and cons, methods of care and maintenance, etc. Yes, we want it to look good, we might have a budget in mind, but we also want it to perform. You want it to be constructed from a material that'll stand up to the elements, that'll fit with how you and your family want to use it.
By this point of the article, you've probably got a pretty good idea with regard to the type of patio furniture you want, be it outdoor sofa set or a patio dining table and chairs.
So, your best starting point when deciding on the right material is to think about how you plan on using it, and how much time you want to spend maintaining it.
Timber for example has always been a popular choice, however, unless it is regularly stained and sealed, it will take in moisture that will cause it to split, and at worst, rot could take hold.
On the plus side, Timber is sturdy. It won't get blown over when the wind picks up. The downside of that is if you like to move your patio furniture around the garden, then it is heavy.
Our cast aluminium on the other hand is fully rust-resistant, low maintenance and easy to pick up and move.
The picture above shows our furniture is made in our factory. If you're interested in finding out more, then head to our How It's Made page for full details and more photos of the process.
At the end of the day, it's all about finding the material that best suits your needs and requirements. Obviously, we are a little biased towards cast aluminium. It's a great all-rounder, and offers excellent value for money.
Patio furniture is constructed from various natural and synthetic materials, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Do a little research and find out what works best for you. Think about not only what looks and feels good but storage and maintenance of your patio furniture should also play a big part in the decision-making process.
Our advice is, and the reason we opted to make our furniture from cast aluminium, is that time in our gardens in the UK is often limited. You want to use and enjoy that furniture, not spend hours cleaning and maintaining it.
Our cast aluminium has a protective painted finish that will take whatever nature throws its way. With a bit of simple cleaning, touch up any paint chips (as shown in the video below), maybe a little bit of car wax for extra protection, and it will look great for many years to come.
When it comes to accessories such as parasols and garden cushions, again they are all made from materials that are designed to stand up to the elements. And if they do need a clean, it is easy to do. Our cushion covers for example can be unzipped and popped into the washing machine.
One thing we would stress at this point is to always invest in quality patio furniture. Push the budget as far as you can.
The old adage “buy cheap, buy twice” is generally true in our industry as it generally relates directly to the quality of materials used. Not always, but as a generalisation, plastic/synthetic resins for example will often be cheaper than metal and wood.
Plastic resin patio furniture can often look great in the showroom of your local garden centre or DIY store but will it look great in a few summers time?
The same is true for the majority of timber pieces if they are not correctly maintained. I guess what we are trying to say is just take a little time to research and make an informed purchase. Check reviews before you buy, etc.
If you're sticking to a budget, then purchase the type of furniture that you will get the most use from. If you purchase a durable patio dining table from us, it’ll last for many summers to come and we know it'll give you hours of outdoor use and enjoyment!
What colour patio furniture do you want?
When purchasing patio furniture, you're not just limited to neutral or natural tones when it comes to the colourway these days. Wicker, wood, and metal patio pieces now come in a wide range of colourful finishes such as the current trend for burnt orange and vivid greens.
However, when it comes to patio furniture, our advice is to go for a more timeless finish, and then make the colour pop with planting and accessories such as cushions, outdoor rugs, etc. These items are less expensive to replace, and if you do find the colour doesn’t suit or you fancy a change in a year or two, then it's a little less painful.
Our Patio Furniture Cushions and Parasols are available in Stone, Green, Blue or Terracotta. The choice of colours is designed to work with the rest of your patio not create a clash. They are natural hues but still hold enough vibrancy to make a statement.
What shape patio furniture do you need?
The shape is a key consideration that many of us also overlook, and certainly many of the other guides to patio furniture that we’ve read often omit.
Again, we will use the patio table sets as that’s what we sell. However, the same could again be applied to outdoor sofa sets or day beds for example, in terms of L-shaped, square or round styles, etc.
When selecting what shape of patio table to buy, it is very important to be guided by the existing shapes of your patio. If the space is round or features curves, then you might want a table that will complement as shown above with the customer photo of our 6 seater Amelia patio furniture set.
On the other hand, a more straight-line square or rectangular space may be better suited to a square or rectangular patio table.
Another important consideration when deciding on shape is the space limitations of your patio. For example, a round or oval-shaped table will take up less space than a similarly sized square or rectangle-shaped patio table. This is because the curved edges mean no corners jutting out into the space.
However, a square or rectangle table on the other hand can be pushed against a wall or into a corner, thus allowing you to potentially lose seating but save space.
Start by looking at the layout of the patio where the table will sit. If the patio has a curved layout, a round table will likely fit the space better as highlighted above and vice versa.
Just as with size, your patio area (both the dimensions and shape), the wider outdoor space you have, and the style of the home itself should all influence the shape of the table (or whatever type of furniture you want).
There are four main/popular shapes you can go for when it comes to patio tables though, all of which are available from Lazy Susan.
You may think a table is a table, but these different shapes do have their individual advantages and disadvantages, some will work on certain styles of patio but not on others, etc.
Think of the overall design scheme but don't be afraid to break the rules too. However, if you're a little bit unsure, always best to play it safe with oval or rectangular sets. At Lazy Susan we have a great selection of Round, Oval, Square and Rectangle patio tables.
How to buy patio furniture from Lazy Susan
If you’re looking to shop online for summer 2022, then at Lazy Susan we want this guide to patio furniture to help you make not only the right (informed) purchase but also a safe and secure purchase.
Now we can’t speak for other online retailers, however, what we can do is tell you what to look for and look out for. Share the benefit of over a decade of online trading.
We’re not a big DIY or homeware brand. We're a small family run business started (literally) from owner Michael Scott’s garden shed. However, we’ve tried to take the big boys and girls on. The internet allows for a level playing field. We can sell our patio furniture alongside the more established names.
We want consumers to be able to shop online for patio furniture with confidence. And the great thing about shopping online is that you can shop around, no wasted trip to the local garden centre.
You can compare prices, do the research we’ve recommended and make that more informed purchase. You can see exactly what is in stock and when it will be delivered. If an item is out of stock with us, we will make it clear on the product page.
If you see "You missed it" on any of our product pages it just means that that set or item is currently out of stock and that no orders can be taken for it at the moment.
It does not mean the product has been discontinued, and you can rest assured that we’ll be working hard to ensure that we have stock asap.
Once we know the product is due in stock we will update the product page with an option to pre-order. This is activated on our website as soon as we have a confirmed restocking date. You’ll see that marked on the main product image too, in an information box at the top left that looks like this:
When we developed our collection we wanted to create a range of patio furniture that was comfortable, sturdy and designed to stand up to the elements.
We wanted to pair style with substance. Create pieces that will enhance the patio dining experience and sit on those patios for the next 10 years without going out of style.
The classical stylings of our collection are just at home in a traditional English cottage garden as they are in a minimalist urban outdoor living space.
And there’s a number of advantages you get from shopping online for patio furniture:
- Saves time and effort
- The convenience of shopping at home
- Wider variety/range of products
- Good discounts/sales/lower prices.
- Easy to research and get detailed information about the product
- Easy to compare different types and materials
- Easy to compare prices between different suppliers/shops
- No crowds or busy weekend car parks
- No sales pressure
However, what’s probably most important if you shop online for patio furniture, is how you can overcome/remove the perceived disadvantages compared to shopping in a physical store?
Many consumers will worry about things like the risk of fraud, security/safe online shopping, shipping, delivery times, returns, not knowing exactly what you’re getting from a photo, complicated websites, etc.
However, possibly with the exception of not being physically able to touch/try the garden chairs, most of those disadvantages could just as easily be applied to shopping in a physical shop too.
If you ask us, the advantages of shopping online for patio furniture definitely outweigh the disadvantages.
1. Look for the padlock
Never buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption installed.
With Lazy Susan you know we have SSL because the URL or web address for our website starts with HTTPS and not just HTTP. You will also see a small locked padlock icon next to it in your address bar or status bar.
HTTPS is the industry standard now, even on non-shopping websites such as the BBC. In fact, the Google Chrome browser will now flag any webpage without HTTPS as "not secure”.
Our shop is also constructed using the Shopware eCommerce platform that further protects you (and us)!
2. Do a background check on the seller
I used to have an old boss when I first started in Marketing that used to always shout “due diligence people, attention to detail”. The same is true when shopping online.
Do a little background check on the company - It is usually pretty easy to spot the wheat from the chaff!
One of the main things we would advise you to look for is a real address and a working contact telephone number. If in doubt, pick up the phone and speak to them.
One quick phone call to the Lazy Susan team and you know you’re dealing with a company that puts customer service at the heart of everything we do.
3. Read the reviews and testimonials
Online reviews are one of the best ways to get a real flavour of who you’re buying from. That’s not to say reviews can’t be faked. If it is all a little too positive, then that could be a red flag.
Any business, us included, will make mistakes. Damaged product, late shipments, they happen. The reviews should reflect that.
This is also why we have partnered with Trustpilot and eKomi for our testimonials. It ensures that the reviews you’re reading are all genuine, and they’ve been written by people who have purchased patio furniture from Lazy Susan.
This is backed up by our customer photo gallery (you’ll also find these on many of product pages and marketing materials too) showing our patio furniture in customers gardens.
4. Try before you buy
This is the tricky one... What if you want to try before you buy? That’s easy if you pop to your local DIY/Home store (as long as they have it on display in-store).
Our solution to this is threefold:
First, we offer a Free Sample Pack (pictured above). This lets you see the metal finish of our garden chairs and tables and the fabric swatches for our cushions and parasols. It gives you a feel for the quality of our range.
Second, we have our Trustpilot reviews and our Customer Photos. They showcase our furniture better than we can. The reviews give real feedback on both the product and service, whilst the photo’s are testament to high customer satisfaction and they show you exactly what our furniture could look like on your own patio.
And lastly, we have our Returns policy. You must understand the returns policy before you make any purchase online. It is important to know that if for any reason you’re unhappy with the product, you can return it. You can view our full Terms & Conditions, and if you have any further questions about purchasing patio furniture from us, then please don’t hesitate to contact the Customer Services team.
A good patio is more than just patio furniture
We often say in these types of guide to patio furniture blog posts that the furniture is the most important element on a patio, and we stand by that.
However, a well-designed patio needs all the other elements such as hardscaping, landscaping, accessorisation, etc to come together and work in harmony.
Yes, you will use the patio furniture the most, but the experience is only enhanced by what’s around it. Often, it is the details that truly make a space work.
Take a patio table and pair it with garden lighting and a patio heater and you can extend that use long into the evening for example. Furniture made from materials such as our painted cast aluminium is constructed to stand up to the elements. Our fabrics too are weather resistant.
That said cover it and bring in cushions and parasols inside when it rains or snows just to keep them clean and ready to use more than anything else.
The patio should be an extension of your home. An extra room without the need (and cost) to actually extend your property. A mix of different types of furniture (if you have the space) will give you flexibility and further increase how often you can use it.
Just don’t be swayed by the latest fad or trend. A good patio set should last at least 5 to 10 years. Keep it simple and sturdy!
There’s also a wide variety of different materials, styles and designs on the market but don’t let that overwhelm you. Do a little research and narrow it down to the material, shape and style that works for you and your outdoor space.
If you have any questions when it comes to purchasing patio furniture from Lazy Susan, then please get in touch via our Email Form or you can call us on 01243 68 43 88.
Our Customer Service team are always happy to help!